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Pinal County jail inmates get computer tablets to get skills

August 11, 2019

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — Pinal County authorities want to prepare inmates with skills to help them have a successful future once they get out of jail.

That’s why the county Sheriff’s Office is partnering with a technology company to bring computer tablets to the inmates at the adult detention center.

“With tablets, inmates can stay in touch with family and keep their minds pre-occupied with educational and religious programming. We expect that it will help with behavior,” Sheriff Mark Lamb told the Casa Grande Dispatch.

The county’s jail houses an average of 500 inmates a day.

The tablets are monitored, and the inmates are aware that their activities and all forms of conversations are monitored, which is standard practice at all detention facilities, according to authorities.

Inmates can use tablets to help advance their education and gain skills while they are incarcerated, prepare themselves for a future job or even work toward a high school diploma.

“For those who want to improve themselves, it opens up that door,” Lamb said. “So if they’re getting out of jail, they know how to prepare for a job as well as know who’s hiring.”

The tool is intuitive and requires no staff intervention. In addition to the job search, the tablets also have applications that give inmates access to phones, education, mental health services and the law library.

“We hope it will help with recidivism and make them more employable,” Lamb said. “If you have a job, and you’re good at it, then you don’t have a reason to commit a crime and come back into my facility.”

The tablets also offer a program that brings premium content through applications such as e-books, podcasts, music and games to the jail population.

That program helps improve facility efficiencies by providing personal access to make phone calls and search for jobs as well as giving greater access to books, educational materials and other content. The educational offerings are the top interest of facility leadership.

Lamb said the podcasts on the tablets can be a tool to help inmates manage stress, learn life skills and how being drug-free will benefit offenders.

“Some of our inmates have grown up with a mom and dad on drugs or alcohol. They’ve had it pretty rough growing up,” Lamb said. “The podcasts teach them about life decisions, not falling into the same old traps of committing crimes and doing drugs.”


Information from: Casa Grande Dispatch.

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